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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New York Post's "Take" on Port Situation

Finally! The minor matter of the management of major U.S. ports being turned over to Dubai is beginning to bubble to the surface of media attention, despite the fact that for days now, the "major" matter of Birdshotgate has held sway!

With gratitude to Always on Watch:


Do the feds really want to place the ports of New York and New Jersey in the hands of a Middle East country with ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers? As The Post reported on Sunday, that's what's about to happen, now that Dubai Ports World has won control — for $6.8 billion — of British-owned Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.

The purchase gives Dubai Ports control of six U.S. ports — including, in addition to New York-New Jersey, Miami, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

True, the deal reportedly was approved by the top-secret U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which decided there was no security risk. But at a time when security in the ports remains unacceptably lax, we wonder whether this is a wise move.
Dubai Ports, after all, is owned by the United Arab Emirates, whose banking system — considered the commercial center of the Arab world — provided most of the cash for the 9/11 hijackers. Indeed, much of the operational planning for the World Trade Center attacks took place inside the UAE.

And while the Bush folks now consider the UAE a major ally in the war against terror, the Treasury Department has been stonewalled by the emirates, and other Arab countries, in trying to track Osama bin Laden's bank accounts.

The new leader of Dubai, one of the seven small countries that make up the UAE, has said all the right things about fighting radical Islam since 9/11. But this remains very much an Islamist nation, where preaching any religion other than Islam is prohibited.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer, for one, thinks this is a case where it's better to be safe than sorry. Noting that the nation's ports "remain top terrorist targets," Schumer rightly argues that "we would not outsource military operations or law-enforcement duties." Likewise, he says, "we should be very careful before we outsource such sensitive homeland security duties."

The fact is, control of America's ports increasingly is being placed in private — and foreign — hands. And there's no guarantee that today's ally in the War on Terror will remain such tomorrow.

There already is reason enough for concern about security in the ports: Homeland Security officials concede that it is impossible for them to fully inspect all but a tiny percentage of the containers that enter from abroad.

Though no one likes to discuss it publicly, smuggling in weapons of mass destruction likely can most easily be done through the ports. Supporters of the deal insist that it doesn't give al Qaeda opportunities it doesn't already enjoy.

That's no comfort.


  • At Thu Feb 16, 03:28:00 AM PST, Blogger Jason_Pappas said…

    I've written to Schumer (among others.) In the past Schumer has made port security an issue. Now it's time to see if he can step it up and stop this from happening.

  • At Thu Feb 16, 11:42:00 AM PST, Blogger George Mason said…


    What an odd situation, this siding with Senator Schumer. Most of the time, I want to throttle him. Then he goes and becomes the only member of Congress (to the best of my knowledge) to stand up for America on this. Thanks for writing him. Since the Republicans, Democrats, journalists, academics, and assorted other no-loads seem oblivious, it defaults to us in the Wide, Wide Blogosphere to "git 'r done."


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